(b. Brussels, 27 Mar. 1951)
Russian; Foreign Minister of the Russian Republic 1990–1, Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation 1991–6 The son of a diplomat and born in Brussels, Kozyrev was educated at Moscow State Institute for International Relations, graduating as a Candidate of Historical Sciences. He then joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, rising to become its head of the Direction of International Organizations in 1989–90, when he laid the groundwork for the development of Russian diplomacy. In October 1990 he became Russian Foreign Minister and remained in that post when the Russian Federation became independent at the end of 1991. His command of foreign languages (English, Spanish, and Portuguese), diplomatic experience, and loyalty to Yeltsin made him indispensable in the early years. Often criticized by the opposition as a ‘liberal’ member of Yeltsin's team, he became distinctly more ‘Eurasian’ after the parliamentary crisis of October 1993, insisting on Russia's prominent role in world affairs, especially in Europe, and in 1995 warning of the possible use of force ‘to defend our compatriots abroad’. Regarded as a grey figure and too flexible to have credibility, he was replaced in January 1996 by Primakov after winning a seat in the December 1995 parliamentary elections. He has since lectured on international affairs and served on the boards of a number of Russian companies.